Lentils are one of the not-so-loved foods in the world.
No, they don’t taste bad; they’re just overlooked because of their dull appearance.
But they’re a significant part of Indian cuisine.
If you get your hands on some of them, know they’re good for your body and something you should add to your diet.
What do lentils taste like? There are all kinds of lentils, and they differ in size and color, so we’ll be looking at what they are and what each one tastes like.
What are Lentils?
If you’re unaware of what lentils are, you likely know the legume peas; well, lentils belong to the same family.
Lentils grow in a bushy shrub and have seeds that are shaped like lenses, which is very much responsible for the name.
They come in different colors having varying tastes.
These legumes are rich sources of essential nutrients and are a healthy way to include protein in your diet without using meat.
They’re low in fat and calories and rich in fiber and minerals.
Lentils are available whole or split; the split variant is common in Indian cuisine.
They are called ‘dal’ and are orange in color.
These are mainly used for everyday cooking, especially in the Indian subcontinent.
Meanwhile, the brown and green variants are sold whole and may be pricier than the red variant.
Because lentils are high in protein, many consider their energy sources and consume them to treat symptoms like fatigue.
They’re an excellent food option for just about anyone as the health benefits of lentils have many qualities that impress.
What Do Lentils Taste Like?
Since there are all sorts of lentils, their taste will vary depending on the species and the way they’re cooked.
But all lentils are anywhere between sweet, nutty, and spicy.
On the other hand, the texture is soft, like beans with a little crunch, but can sometimes be mushy, depending on how you cook them.
Red lentils taste mildly sweet and nutty.
They turn yellow with cooking and disintegrate with cooking, which takes about 30 minutes.
Because they become mushy, red lentils make great curries.
Brown lentils are the most common variant of lentils and taste earthy.
Their color can range from khaki to black, and when cooked, they turn soft but retain their firmness.
So they won’t become mushy even with long cooking, but they generally get cooked in under 30 minutes.
Green lentils taste and smell peppery ad are the most expensive among all lentils.
These lentils take a long time to cook, generally 45 minutes.
However, they do not disintegrate with cooking, and their distinct taste makes them suitable for salads.
The taste profile of lentils and beans is similar as they taste earthy and nutty.
The difference is that beans may need a longer cook time but become soft and absorbs seasonings well.
They generally taste mild and sweet.
On the other hand, lentils are a little crunchy and aren’t distinctly sweet.
But one major factor that distinguishes their tastes is their shelf life.
Lentils retain their taste for about a year, while beans remain flavorful for years.
How to Cook and Serve Lentils?
Just as there are many variants of lentils, you have many options to cook them into something delicious.
Consider these ideas:
Stew: Brown or red lentils work well for a stew.
Remember to observe the lentils while they cook, as they can turn too mushy and unpleasant to eat.
Adding potatoes, leafy greens, and a few herbs will make the stew more balanced.
Salads: Firm, green lentils have a rich taste that needs no other seasonings.
So, pair them with a few of your favorite veggies, and they’ll taste extraordinary.
They will also make the salads look vibrant, functioning like garnishes.
Dip/Spread: If you have leftover lentils, turn them into a dip by blending them with butter, nuts, olive oil, and a few extra seasonings.
You can use this as a spread for crackers, bread, or anything baked.
When cooking lentils, always make sure they’re properly cooked.
If the lentils are even slightly undercooked, the protein lectin becomes indigestible and may result in stomach upsets.
Also, if you soaked your lentils beforehand, do not use the water for cooking your lentils.
They contain tannins that can trigger bloating.
Lentils are legumes that have health-boosting properties.
Green lentils are the most delicious and expensive lentils available.
But with the right cooking methods, you can easily alter the taste of other lentils to make them better suited for you.
Turning your lentils into dips and stews are great ways to pair them with baked food.
They can also make a salad more protein-filled.
Since there is a lot that you can achieve with lentils, you always have a chance at impressing dinner guests.
But always consider your health and dietary restrictions before adding them to your diet.